Notes for Isa 41:1LEB

Or "islands" (KJV, NIV, CEV); TEV "distant lands"; NLT "lands beyond the sea."


The Hebrew term מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) could be translated "judgment," but here it seems to refer to the dispute or debate between Yahweh and the nations.


Notes for Isa 41:2LEB

The expression this one from the east refers to the Persian conqueror Cyrus, as later texts indicate (see Isa 44:28–45LEB: Isa 6LEB; Isa 46:11LEB; Isa 48:14–16LEB).


The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis.


"[in] righteousness called him to his foot."


"he [Yahweh] places before him [Cyrus] nations."


The verb יַרְדְּ (yardé) is an otherwise unattested Hiphil form from רָדָה (radah, "rule"). But the Hiphil makes no sense with "kings" as object; one must understand an ellipsis and supply "him" (Cyrus) as the object. The Qumran scroll 1QIsa has יוֹרִד (yorid), which appears to be a Hiphil form from יָרַד (yarad, "go down"). Others suggest reading יָרֹד (yarod), a Qal form from רָדַד (radad, "beat down").


The point is that they are powerless before Cyrus’ military power and scatter before him.


Notes for Isa 41:3LEB

"[in] peace"; KJV, ASV "safely"; NASB "in safety"; NIV "unscathed."


"a way with his feet he does not come [or "enter"]." One could translate, "by a way he was not [previously] entering with his feet." This would mean that he is advancing into new territory and expanding his conquests. The present translation assumes this is a hyperbolic description to his speedy advance. He moves so quickly he does not enter the way with his feet, i.e., his feet don’t even touch the ground. See C. R. North, Second Isaiah, 94.


Notes for Isa 41:4LEB

"Who acts and accomplishes?"; NASB "Who has performed and accomplished it."


The interrogative particle is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).


"I, Yahweh, [am with] the first, and with the last ones I [am] he."


Notes for Isa 41:5LEB

Or "islands" (NIV, CEV); NCV "faraway places"; NLT "lands beyond the sea."


"the ends of the earth," but this is a merism, where the earth’s extremities stand for its entirety, i.e., the extremities and everything in between them.


Notes for Isa 41:6LEB

"each his neighbor helps"; NCV "The workers help each other."


Notes for Isa 41:7LEB

The verb "encourages" is understood by ellipsis (note the preceding line).


"saying of the welding, ‘It is good.’"


Notes for Isa 41:8LEB

Or perhaps, "covenantal partner" (see 1 Kgs 5:15LEB HT [5:1 ET]; 2 Chr 20:7LEB).


Notes for Isa 41:9LEB

"whom I have taken hold of [i.e., to lead back]."


Notes for Isa 41:10LEB

According to BDB (1043 s.v. שָׁעָה), the verb תִּשְׁתָּע (tishta’) in the second line of the poetic couplet is a Hitpael form from the root שָׁעָה (shaah, "gaze," with metathesis of the stem prefix and the first root letter). Taking the Hitpael as iterative, one may then translate "do not anxiously look about." However, the alleged Hitpael form of שָׁעָה (shaah) only occurs here and in verse 23. HALOT 1671 s.v. שׁתע proposes that the verb is instead a Qal form from the root שׁתע ("fear") which is attested in cognate Semitic languages, including Ugaritic (discovered after the publishing of BDB), suggests the existence of this root. The poetic structure of v. 10 also supports the proposal, for the form in question is in synonymous parallelism to יָרֵא (yare’, "fear").


The "right hand" is a symbol of Yahweh’s power to deliver (Exod 15:6-12LEB) and protect (Ps 63:9LEB HT [63:8 ET]). Here צֶדֶק (tsedeq) has its well-attested nuance of "vindicated righteousness," i.e., "victory, deliverance" (see Isa 45:8LEB; Isa 51:5LEB, and BDB 841-42 s.v.).


Notes for Isa 41:11LEB

"the men of your strife"; NASB "those who contend with you."


"like nothing"; NAB "come to nought."


Notes for Isa 41:12LEB

"the men of your struggle"; NASB "those who quarrel with you."


"the men of your battle"; NAB "who do battle with you."


Notes for Isa 41:14LEB

"O worm Jacob" (NAB, NIV). The worm metaphor suggests that Jacob is insignificant and despised.


On the basis of the parallelism (note "worm") and an alleged Akkadian cognate, some read "louse" or "weevil." Cf. NAB "O maggot Israel"; NRSV "you insect Israel."


"your kinsman redeemer." A גָּאַל (gaal, "kinsman redeemer") was a protector of the extended family’s interests.


See the note on the phrase "the Holy One of Israel" in Isa 1:4LEB.


Notes for Isa 41:15LEB

"into" (so NIV); ASV "have made thee to be."


"owner of two-mouths," i.e., double-edged.


The mountains and hills symbolize hostile nations that are obstacles to Israel’s restoration.


Notes for Isa 41:17LEB

"will answer them" (so ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV, NLT).


Notes for Isa 41:20LEB

The words "I will do this" are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Hebrew text has here simply, "in order that."


"they"; NAB, NRSV "that all may see"; CEV, NLT "Everyone will see."


"hand" (so KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).


Or "created it" (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); TEV "has made it happen."


Notes for Isa 41:21LEB

"strong [words]," see HALOT 870 s.v. עֲצֻמוֹת.


Apparently this challenge is addressed to the pagan idol gods, see vv. 23–24.


Notes for Isa 41:22LEB

"As for the former things, tell us what they are!"


"so we might set [them to] our heart."


"and might know their outcome."


Notes for Isa 41:23LEB

"Declare the coming things, with respect to the end."


The translation assumes the Qere (וְנִרְאֶה [vénireh], from יָרֵא [yare’], "be afraid").


"so we might be frightened and afraid together." On the meaning of the verb שָׁתָע (shata’), see the note at v. 10.


Notes for Isa 41:24LEB

"an object of disgust [is he who] chooses you."


Notes for Isa 41:25LEB

That is, Cyrus the Persian. See the note at v. 2.


"[one] from the rising of the sun [who] calls in my name."


The Hebrew text has וְיָבֹא (véyavo’, "and he comes"), but this is likely a corruption of an original וַיָּבָס (vayyavas), from בּוּס (bus, "step on").


Notes for Isa 41:26LEB

The words "who announced it" are supplied in the translation for clarification. The interrogative particle and verb are understood by ellipsis (see the preceding line).


Notes for Isa 41:27LEB

The Hebrew text reads simply, "First to Zion, ‘Look here they are!’" The words "I decreed" are supplied in the translation for clarification.


Notes for Isa 41:29LEB

The Hebrew text has אָוֶן (’aven, "deception," i.e., "false"), but the Qumran scroll 1QIsa has אין ("nothing"), which forms a better parallel with אֶפֶס (’efes, "nothing") in the next line. See also Isa 40:17LEB and Isa 41:12LEB.


"their statues are wind and nothing"; NASB "wind and emptiness"; NIV "wind and confusion."